Is the digital age making us less able to deal with life’s awkward and uncomfortable moments? #ithinkso
Have you ever had to cancel on someone but chose to text them instead of calling because it felt easier? Has anyone ever broken up with you via e-mail or text? It’s easier to avoid the uncomfortable moments because we don’t want to admit that we could be hurting someone or making them feel uneasy. We also try to avoid awkward moments. With e-mail, texting, and all social media platforms, it is very easy to avoid the hard conversations and situations by simply choosing to respond through text or phone instead of seeing the person face to face.
Hurting people doesn’t feel good and it’s natural to want to pretend we’re not doing it. Louis CK touched on this topic during an interview with Connan O’Brien earlier in the year. He spoke about kids around the time when they begin to make fun of each other. One kid might walk up to another kid and say “You’re fat.” Once he sees the kid’s sad and painful reaction he will feel some sort of remorse for what he said. But when a kid texts “You’re fat” to another kid, the sender can’t see how the person reacts, so he or she doesn’t feel badly about it.
Adults do the same thing. When it comes to online communication it is so easy to say something hurtful or uncomfortable and not take full responsibility for it. It is also easy to misinterpret what someone says because we aren't there to hear the tone in their voice or see their body language. If someone texts you, “I’m fine” that could mean “I’m really okay” or “F—off” depending on the context of the conversation. You also don’t want to have to use 20 exclamation marks and 15 emoji’s to convey your happiness through a text.
So what do we do? Practice owning up to the moments that could feel painful or awkward and embrace them fully. Try taking the extra step to call the person you need to talk to or go see them in person. Even though it feels harder to do in the moment, it is more likely that you will both gain greater understanding of your situation by having the courage to talk face to face. Just put yourself in their shoes—would you want them to text you instead of calling or telling you face to face?